Dill, Carroll Homer in Leading UK to 4-2 Win over WKU
March 21, 2012
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Junior Kara Dill and sophomore Ginny Carroll both hit home runs and senior Rachel Riley pitched a complete game in leading Kentucky to a 4-2 road victory at Western Kentucky on Wednesday night. Carroll's two-run homer marked her team-leading fourth of the season and Dill's was the first of her career.
With the win Kentucky improves to 13-15 on the season and WKU drops to 19-11. Riley's win in front of her hometown crowd was the third of the season for the right-hander.
Kentucky's offense was terrific as UK registered 10 hits in the game led by a perfect 4-for-4 day from Dill. Six other players recorded at least one hit with sophomore Lauren Cumbess also driving in a run for the Blue and White.
Kentucky struck first with a pair of scores in the top half of the second. Junior Alice O'Brien reached when she was hit by a pitch. Carroll then lofted a 2-2 pitch and took it yard over the center field wall for her fourth dinger of the season and lifting UK to a 2-0 advantage.
UK increased its lead to 4-0 with two more runs in the top half of the fourth. Dill led off with the first round tripper of her career when she drilled it over the right field fence. Freshman Griffin Joiner kept the inning going with a two-out single into left field. Cumbess brought her home with a double that laced the right field line for the second run of the frame.
WKU cracked the scoreboard with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. The Hilltoppers notched a one-out double and then brought the run in with a two-run homer. Riley settled down and struck out the next two batters she faced, however, to preserve the Wildcats' lead.
Dill opened the game with a single up the middle that laced off the pitcher's glove. Cervantes followed with a single up the middle as well. The runners would shift a base on a passed ball, but the Wildcats would leave them both aboard without pushing across a run.
One WKU player reached by way of an error by the Wildcats in the home half of the first, but Riley dispelled the threat with a groundout to end the inning.
Sophomore Emily Gaines reached by way of an error on the second baseman and Dill notched her second hit of the game in the second, but UK could not add on to its two runs in the frame leaving two more aboard.
An infield bunt single began the bottom of the second for the home team. The Hilltoppers advanced the runner with a sacrifice bunt, but Riley struck out the next two batters to again end the inning.
Kentucky retired the side in the bottom of the third which was highlighted by Joiner tossing out a runner attempting to steal second. After allowing a two-out walk in the home side of the fourth, Riley induced the final out of the inning to groundout back to her on the mound to continue to protect the Wildcat advantage.
Gaines registered a one-out single in the fifth and Dill picked up her fourth hit of the game with a single up the middle. The inning concluded on a run-down with Gaines attempting to score on Dill's chopper.
WKU again picks up a two-out single in the home half of the fifth, but Riley quickly dispels the threat with an inning-ending grounder back to Cervantes at third.
Riley picked up a one-out single into left-center in the sixth. Pinch runner Sarah Frazer shifted a bag on a wild pitch and then moved to third on a deep fly out by Joiner. Cumbess smoked a ball into the five-six hole, but WKU's shortstop made a tremendous diving snag and threw from her knees to prevent a run from scoring and converting the third out of the inning.
For the first time in the game the Wildcats were retired in order in the top of the seventh. In a last-ditch comeback effort by the Hilltoppers, Riley induced two quick groundouts for the first two outs of the inning. The home team picked up a two-out walk to keep the inning alive. But, on the very first pitch of the next at-bat, Riley gets a grounder back to Cervantes for the game-winning out.
Kentucky remains on the road for a three-game series at Auburn beginning Friday, March 23. It will mark the second Southeastern Conference series of the season for UK and the first on the road.
For continuing coverage of the 2012 UK softball season log on to UKathletics.com.